U.S. Congress Passes Joint Resolution Rescinding the Stream Protection Rule
On February 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate approved, by a vote of 54-45, a joint resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives the previous day (H.J. Res 38), rescinding the Stream Protection Rule. The Stream Protection Rule was finalized on December 20, 2016 by the Department of Interior (81 Fed. Reg. 93066 (2016)) and severely restricted the disposal of coal mining waste into streams. The rescission of this rule is authorized by the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. Chapter 8) passed in 1996. The Congressional Review Act permits Congress, via joint resolution, to rescind a “major” rule issued by a federal agency within 60 legislative days after its issuance. The law is rarely used and only successfully used on March 20, 2001 when both houses of Congress and President George W. Bush rescinded the ergonomics rule submitted by the Department of Labor. President Trump must now sign H.J. Res 38 in order for the rule to be rescinded.